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Wyoming Record Malpractice Award of $9M for Improperly Diagnosed Broken Neck


Posted on Nov 20, 2011

Wyoming has recently awarded what is the state's largest medical malpractice award in history. The $9 million verdict was handed down to a family for an improperly diagnosed broken neck. The previous major malpractice award went for $1.5 million.

In December of 2008, Louis Prager of Montana was driving a truck over icy roads for his employer, Conquest Energies Co. Mr. Prager, 51 at the time, lost control of the vehicle as it left the road and rolled over several times until it stopped upside-down. Suffering neck and shoulder pain, Mr. Prager was admitted to the emergency department at Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette, Wyoming. There, the emergency physician, Dr. Brian Cullison, ordered X-rays and CT scans of the patient's head, facial bones and thoracic spine. Tests of his neck was not included and he was discharged that day without a broken neck diagnosis.

After four days, Mr. Prager awoke with extreme next and shoulder pain, as well as arm weakness. Upon returning to the emergency department, doctors found that his neck was broken. After surgery stabilized his neck, it was revealed that damage had already been done. Mr. Prager then filed suit over the medical error.

The trial was held this October. Mr. Prager was awarded $7 million and his wife $2 million for loss of consortium.

COMMENT:
Failure to diagnose fractures along the vertebrae can lead to catastrophic injury including paralysis, paraplegia and quadripilegia.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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